Last year, we stumbled across the sunny, California sounds of the band Tall Tales and the Silver Lining and immediately fell in love. With their hearts clearly rooted in folk-rock’s golden age but their heads in the here and now, their wistful-but-hopeful music painted the perfect backdrop to driving down the California coast in our new home state. We first wrote the band up briefly after discovering them as part of last March’s mixtape and then at year’s end when naming our favorite albums of 2016. So, needless to say, we were bummed to hear that the band was breaking up this spring, so soon after us first finding them.
We recently reached out to Tall Tales founder + frontman Trevor Beld Jimenez in hopes of finding out more about the band’s beginnings, influences, and ending and he kindly obliged.
One of Tall Tales’ more recent track “Burning Out” is below and you can scroll down to the end of the interview to see the official video from one of our favorite tracks from their full-length, “Something to Believe In.”
raven + crow: So, outta the gate, I’ve gotta ask about the name—Tall Tales and the Silver Lining. It’s such a unique name and one I’ve always been intrigued by in terms of the story behind it. How’d you come up with that? Where’s it from?
Trevor Beld Jimenez: Thanks, brother! Originally it was gonna be more of a solo endeavor, so I wanted a moniker cause I was too scared to use my name. Tall was a play on my height and Tales was a play on the songs. As the band started to develop live, and transitioned into more a real band feel with mainstays in the lineup, I thought it would be cool to have a back up band name, like the E Street Band or something of that nature. I’ve always liked the idea of silver linings.
Poetically logical. I like it. We sadly first heard about you all just last year, when the record label arm of Other Music—my favorite record store of all time (RIP)—signed you guys. How did a southern California band get connected with a New York City mainstay like that?
We came into contact with Josh from Other through Domino Publishing. He flew out to see us play in Los Angeles, and shortly after that we decided to put out a record together.
I know Other’s label is still around, but were you as sad as I was when you heard they were closing?
We played at the record store on an East Coast trip in 2015. Everybody there was super cool! Totally a bummer, but I know they’ve got great things ahead of them collectively and individually.
It’s pretty well-ducmented and definitely very talked about at this point, but how do you think the music scene—both in terms of record-buying and in terms of being in a band—has changed for better and worse in the past few years?
It’s changed in different ways, but in many ways has stayed the same.
When I first started playing music 17 years ago as a 16-year-old kid I can’t even remember how we booked shows. I feel like people would call you on the phone or maybe you would see them at a party and they would say “Hey do you want to play on this date?” Now it’s all done through email. Been that way for at least 10 years or so (I got internet for the first time in ’09). I’m a late bloomer, so I’m kinda just catching up in many ways.
Maybe it’s always been like this, but it also seems like pretty much anybody can start a band these days. All you need is a name and an account on all the social media platforms and you’re good to go. It’s easy to have a fling with music, but you can still spot the lifers out there. I don’t think that is necessarily a new concept, or a bad thing, it just seems to be the times right now.
It’s also pretty hard to sell records. I know that this is not new information. Definitely got to play live and tour to get those records out there!!
People can find it for free somewhere out there on the Internet. It’s a double edged sword for sure. As an artist you want people to hear your music and appreciate it, so sometimes you’re willing to not put a price on it. Music can heal and the world needs it right now, but it takes time, soul, energy and of course money to make. It’s always nice to feel like the feeling and effort between you and the audience is mutual.
All true. And likewise, having played and toured with a band pre-Internet/-email myself, it’s crazy to think back to how we did things back then and how shows across the country even happened.
How did Tall Tales start in the first place?
Tall Tales started in Ventura California around 2007. I played bass in this band for many years up there, and was writing songs as well for that band, but more behind the curtain. I wanted to step out a little bit more and felt like the time was right. I started the band as a kind of solo project with my wife Tania getting my back on the recordings and live sometimes, but mostly myself. Then it just became an official band. It was fun times.
We really loved your sound. Having recently moved here from New York purely for the good vibes and lack of terrible winters, I felt like you all really gave us a soundscape for the feeling of California, if that makes any sense. The band’s music really so expertly captured the expansiveness and sense of scale of California’s natural landscape—I feel like that was even reflected in some of the album artwork. Is that sound something you tried to actively cultivate or was it just natural in the music and the way you all presented the band’s work?
Thanks again! Appreciate that. I’d be lying if I said at certain stages during Tall Tales it was not a conscious effort to be part of our identity. I definitely grew up listening to a lot of the 70s “California sound” bands, and then as a young adult rediscovering it through bands like Beachwood Sparks and Little Wings. Those bands felt like home.
Oh, yeah, Brent seems to be really be keeping the Beachwood sound alive with his new project, GospelbeacH too. Who were some other musical influences for you?
Man, really hear the Petty influence in a great way too. But now, sadly, Tall Tales is no more—can you talk about what brought about the end of the band?
Basically, my best explanation is bands break up. Over time, so many factors play into it that it’s even really hard to pinpoint one. Ultimately, we tried to end it on a high note and with love instead of dragging the horse through the mud. We wanted to set the horse free!!
We last caught you up at a show at El Rancho Inn in Ojai (pictured below), one of a string of shows you announced as your final before the band officially called it quits. It was such an amazing, beautiful setting for a show—did you all enjoy it?
Love that place!! Ojai is kind of like a third or fourth home to Tania and I. I used to teach music at a school up there and every day the drive from Ventura to Ojai was like driving through God’s country. Very beautiful!
Yeah, my partner Katie + I totally love it there too, so much. That show also introduced us to Elisa Randazzo, who we really enjoyed. Do you all go way back?
Tania and I met Elisa in Big Sur at the Hipnic Festival about 6 years ago. We watched her set and were blown away. Afterwards we went up and said hi and she was talking to Neal Casal (who ended up eventually moving to Ventura and we would play shows and music together soon after). We all became friends from that day on. She and her family are some of our dearest friends.
And your final show was up at Hickey Fest, right? How was that?
The Hickey Fest show was really cool. We played at sunset. The crowd was really mellow. People were still showing up to the festival, but it was apropos. We went out the way we came in: In the woods, at sunset, amongst friends and family singing along.
Sounds like a fitting way to end things. So what are your plans now that Tall Tales is no more? Are they musical? Non-musical? Both?
Some of the folks are starting new rad projects and out playing shows already. Some are playing with the other bands/people they were already playing with, or they have joined other bands around the Los Angeles area. Tania and I are being parents, working, and enjoying this life. Exciting times for all!
Well thanks again for making the time to talk. I hope to hear from you again some time soon, man.
Peace and love always.
We’ll keep an eye out for new musical projects from Jimenez + co.; in the meantime, we’d recommend checking out Tall Tales’ back catalog via Other Music, iTunes, your local record store, or whatever you use to stream music.